A Story by SignifiedG

I wrote this in about 10 minutes on tumblr, so it's very rough. It just kind of happened. hope you enjoy.


And now I remember.

They told him to climb the ladder. 

So he did. 

With his foot on the second rung he reached up and began his ascent. The landscape was simple: he was in a hole, perfectly round around the edges, with small outcroppings at various intervals. Just him, and the ladder, and his cylindrical hole. 

He kept his eyes straight to the wall. It was too much to look up, and he was now too far along to look down. He focused on what was near him, to maintain his composure. 

After several hours, he grew impatient. He did not feel he was making progress. Though the ground was no longer visible from his height, the rim did not appear any closer. He stopped for a while, to reevaluate his situation. 

They had told him to climb, so he continued. 

He had heard the stories of the rim. The feeling. The success. The accomplishment. He wanted them all. Though he did not realize it would take so much time. 

Soon he was aware that the ladder passed a rocky shelf, just above his head. With a closer goal in sight, he quickened his pace. Perhaps this was a checkpoint. 

When his head finally arrived over the top of the shelf he found himself staring at a beautiful girl. 

"Hello," she said. "You must be. Though you are going the wrong way. Why don't you slide this way for a while."

She motioned to the shelf which seemed to run a level course around the walls of the hole. 

"That does seem nice," he admitted. She seemed pleasant enough and he yearned for a little company. "But I must continue climbing," he objected. "Happiness lies ahead."

"If you insist," she said. "I'll miss you." And she gave a bright smile before running away on the shelf. He watched as she vanished into darkness. 

The rim was no closer. 

Yet he climbed. 

Eyes straight ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. 

After days or months or years or seconds, he really could not tell, a second shelf appeared to his left. Again, he hastened, hoping for anything to break the monotony of the climb, the ladder, the dark.

And there she was again. 

"Hello," he started. "You seem to be moving faster than me. Have you made the climb before?"

"No," she said curtly. "I've never made the climb before, though I am much better than you at it. Hey! Why don't you slide this way and take a little break? It's much more fun this way." She gestured down the shelf. 

"I'd love to," he said. "But I must reach the top. Happiness awaits, and they expect me to reach it."

"Ok," she said, without a smile. And she ran and was gone. 

Eyes straight ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. Ahead, reach, pull, lift, breathe. 

It must have taken him years. He had a beard now, grey and unkempt. The monotony had nearly driven him mad. The darkness perpetually surrounded his being. Some time ago he realized the rim was nearer and now, finally, he was close. He went as fast as he could, nimble with age, determined to reach the rim. 

He had not seen the girl, or another shelf in...forever. 

Two rungs from the top, he stopped. There was a bright light above, and everything else below. The edge was smooth, and he made out two handles on the lip to help him get out. Tears came to his eyes as he reached for them, and then, in one motion, he hoisted himself onto the flat ground. 

A light breeze caressed his cheeks, and the light warmed him. He stayed flat on his belly, eyes closed for a period, and when he looked up, what he saw shocked him. 

Solid rock, all a singular flat grey tone stretched as far as he could see. There was no sign of life. No sign of others. 

"But I made it," he said aloud. "I made it to the top."

The helplessness hit him hardest, followed by the despair. He wallowed in it. 

Where was his happiness? Where was his success? Where were the others, who so desperately wanted him to climb? Had he been to slow? It all seemed so...worthless up here. 

And then he heard her voice, a ghost from a distant memory. "Why don't you slide this way?" 

He approached the chasm from which he emerged, from which he spent a lifetime escaping. It took no thought, it took no weight. 

He jumped. 

And he fell. 

He fell through the air, the wind whipping at his face, his muscles loose as he let go of himself. 

He fell back to the darkness, as it engulfed him yet again, welcoming him home. 

He fell past his accomplishment, past his lifetime of work.  

He fell from the highest expectations, and the narrowest of paths. 

He fell into her arms as she broke his fall, placing his feet back on the ground. 

He fell in love when she smiled, when she kissed him, when she spoke: 

"Why don't you slide this way a while?"

And so he fell from the very top, back to rock bottom where he belonged. 

© 2011 SignifiedG

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a very interesting piece of writing
it's unreal and yet so real

Posted 12 Years Ago

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Added on July 19, 2011
Last Updated on July 19, 2011
Tags: Life, Falling, Climbing, Gaining, Loss, Victory, Ladder, Love, Hope, Family, Belonging



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